I hear the term SEO thrown around in client kickoffs, but with similar context to how we discuss gluten. What is it? How does it work?
The conversation circles around "I need a website with SEO," likely due to a Google search to build lead potential or word-of-mouth of a fellow business owner. In order to reap the benefits of SEO, it's important to understand it at its core. A big part of what we do here at Kicks Digital Marketing is client education. We stress the importance of knowing how your digital footprint impacts your business and what it can do for you if you are willing to take the time to work for it.
SEO is the abbreviation for search engine optimization. SEO is an action and a full-time job at many agencies, but it is part of every action taken from content to web development. There is no magic tool. There is no quick fix. Tools like Yoast and Moz provide great best practice analyzers, but they market on hope for better rank and fail to mention you'll have to take specific action to reap the rewards.
The core purpose of SEO is to optimize your website or online strategy to be able to provide the best opportunity for organic rank and online traffic acquisition. But where does it start and where does it end? It starts with content and research.
Many clients only see the final product or care about the beautification of their web presence, the vanity project as we call it here. From go, we scope our client's needs and stress the importance of messaging, often going layers deep with internal and external stakeholders to provide the ultimate context before embarking on the content phase of our project.
Content writers research trending topics and keywords relating to the services and determine the best terms and phrases to use for your static page content. The same tactic is present when generating blog posts and social media content. The higher quality the content and the more often a keyword appears in context (keyword density), the more likely it will return when a user keys in a related search on Google. But, it doesn't end there.
Once your content goes from draft to site-ready, it's time to plug it into your website design in a way that makes it easy for search engines to crawl and read your page. All sites use a similar structure that sort code and content based on the level of importance as shown below.
Your page title defines what the page is about. Titles will show up in Google search results pages as the first bold line followed by other important pieces of information. Most companies will use a syntax of the title followed by company name like:
Chimney Cleaning | Chimney Solutions Indiana
What's nice about this is that the location, service, and industry are in the company name reinforcing the confidence of the searching user. However, some companies elect to customize their page title layouts to force in keywords and locations similar to:
Olympic Lifting Classes | Best Indianapolis CrossFit Gym
To the average user it may pass, but to the critic (or marketer), these titles can seem grabby, spammy, and inauthentic.
The URL of a page shows up above the page title Google search results. A URL should contain a keyword related to the purpose of the page or match the page title and be under 50 characters while avoiding stop words like an, and, or, etc.
Think of a meta description like your elevator pitch. You have 160 characters to tell the user what the page is about. There is nothing more frustrating than looking for answers only to be met with content that has little or nothing to with what you searched. This is why Google uses a metric called the Quality Score that measures the search terms against the content of the page. The higher the quality score, the more likely a site will rank high (and cost less per click if you are paying for Google Ads).
In the example above, you can see the "..." cutting the content off mid-sentence. When companies take a lazy approach and fail to enter in the dictated meta description, search engines will grab the first 160 characters. Talk about giving away a great opportunity to get a new client. When writing meta descriptions, key in a short description of the page using related keywords while keeping it limited to 160 characters.
If you are familiar with Buzzfeed, you are already familiar with headings. Headings are used in the body of your website and help search engines crawl and read the site with ease. Each heading breaks apart the content much like "chapters" in a book.
As you can see, headings create a hierarchal rank for your content. By organically using prime keywords in sub-headings will tell site crawlers that the page or post is likely quality compared to the search term. But, what if you have images on your page to compliment text?
Images are a great way to bring visual appeal to your website, landing pages, and blog posts. When you upload your photo to a Wordpress media gallery, you are able to include image descriptions and other identifiers for a specific image such as alt text and image title.
Include relevant information about each image to give search engines a better idea of what it relates to.
With SEO, you cannot take one without the other. A website facelift doesn't improve rank. Content with proper development will not be properly crawled. All websites developed on our custom Wordpress platform follow the best practices and standards to provide your website with the best opportunity for quality organic search traffic and rank. The question is, what will you do with this knowledge?
If you are uncertain about your website and digital footprint, drop us a line and let us know. We'd be happy to walk through your site and discuss how you can optimize your website to improve your rank opportunity.